WASHINGTON—The Securities and Exchange Commission is preparing to examine as many as 100 hedge funds focused on cryptocurrencies, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The initiative is separate from the dozens of enforcement investigations already under way, which largely target initial coin offerings, or digital tokens that startups offer in exchange for investments. The SEC has pushed aggressively to police the unregulated world of ICOs, saying that many token deals flout investor-protection laws.
Securities and Exchange Commission v. W. J. Howey Co., 328 U.S. 293 (1946), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the offer of a land sales and service contract was an "investment contract" within the meaning of the Securities Act of 193315 U.S.C.§77b and that the use of the mails and interstate commerce in the offer and sale of these securities was a violation of §5 of the Act, 15 U.S.C.§77e. It was an important case in determining the general applicability of the federal securities laws.
The case resulted in a test, known as the Howey test, to determine whether an instrument qualifies as an "investment contract" for the purposes of the Securities Act:
"a contract, transaction or scheme whereby a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits solely from the efforts of the promoter or a third party." 
In general, registration forms call for:
a description of the company's properties and business;
a description of the security to be offered for sale;
information about the management of the company; and
financial statements certified by independent accountants.
on or about Jan. 3, 2009, Bitcoin's pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first 50 bitcoins and started the Bitcoin payment network. And not long after that on Jan. 12, Hal Finney was the recipient of the first Bitcoin transaction.